41 per cent surge in children taken into care in Sheffield ‘reflects tougher stance’ on neglect

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A child is taken into care every three days in Sheffield, The Star can reveal.

Figures show a 41 per cent rise in the number of children taken into care.

City MPs say the rise – higher than the 36 per cent national average – reflects a tougher stance on neglect in the wake of national public scandals.

Figures from a Freedom of Information Act request by The Star show the number of children taken into care in the past five years rose from 85 in 2009 to 120 in 2013, with a peak of 135 in 2012.

In total, 545 children were taken into care by Sheffield Council in five years.

But Sheffield Council said the city ‘does not have a problem’ – and the increase reflects an increasingly ‘proactive’ approach.

MPs Clive Betts and David Blunkett said the rise was a result of the recession and a tougher approach to child care in the wake of scandals.

Hillsborough and Brightside MP Mr Blunkett said the situation in Sheffield is ‘very different’ to that in Rotherham, adding: “It is acknowledged nationally the considerable focus over tragic incidents of child abuse, neglect and exploitation has led, understandably, to greater focus on decisive action and pressure on social workers to err on the side of caution in protecting children.

“It is very different to the situation in Rotherham which is, tragically, about hearing and responding to the cry for help, not only from children but from their immediate families.”

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